Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Michigan Meadery

B. Nektar, a Michigan meadery, is featured in this video.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Crossbow Inn

It just came to my attention that there is a medieval-themed restaurant in Grand Blanc, Michigan (nearby, in other words) called the Crossbow Inn. As you can see from their photos, the ambiance is "medievalish" rather than medieval, but that's to be expected. And the menu is completely conventional, without even a nod at the Middle Ages or even Europe. If I try it, I'll mention it here, but I'm told they have good steaks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cannon at Crecy?

Did artillery make its first tentative appearance in European military history at the storied Battle of Crecy in 1346? Maybe.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thrusting Tips

I am reliably informed that all the cool kids have thrusting tips from Master Eirik Dweorgaex's Munition Grade Arms these days. Not wishing to be laughed at and pointed at when I reenter the lists, I have ordered a bunch. I recommend Master Eirik's wares; his postage calculator was a little funky, but he considerately refunded half the postage, which was very thoughtful of him. He also has very good shaved rattan; I haven't ordered any yet but Geirmundr has, and I was very impressed with his.

The thrusting tips arrived with alacrity, and I hope to have my new swords assembled over the weekend. Siloflex this time; I propose to move entirely into the 21st century this time. Or no, the 14th century... oh, you know what I mean.

Monday, July 06, 2009

From the Department of Much-Delayed Projects

Some time ago, mentioned in the dim past of the blog, I may have mentioned the notion of refurbishing my armor, in order to do some serious heavy combat once again.

Over the weekend, I unearthed all my armor and equipment, went over it with my partner in carnage, Lord Geirmundr, and made various plans. He's going to kindly cut out some shield blanks for me to paint, edge and strap (I already had a few bent); I'm going to completely refurbish the helmet and build new swords; I just ordered some thrusting tips; and tomorrow a check for a much-needed new gorget goes in the mail.

So some progress is being made at last.

Update: Oh, and photos will follow as equipment is completed.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


So, what does the SCA in Genesee County or the mid-Michigan area require to grow and prosper? I've been wondering about that for a while, and wondering what I might do to add some value in this regard.

If anyone's still reading this sadly neglected blog, and has a notion, they might choose to comment, or to email me. And I'll note any decisions I make along those lines.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Little Pleasures of Teaching

1. Sometimes the powers that be let you teach European History I.
2. Sometimes when you assign the students to bring little tidbits of historical info to class, one of them plays a Renaissance tune on his guitar for his assignment.

I have a very good job.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Val Day

I'm once again teaching a Saturday morning class - I occasionally get roped into this particular class in the winter term. So no SCA events for me unless there's one close enough to permit a late arrival. Kalamazoo and the Valentine's Day Massacre from the distant side of Northwoods in Flint is too far.

Melisande and Bronwen left for the event at the same time I did for work; I found the roads rather bad, worse than I had expected. They got to Lansing before giving up and coming back. Skalla-Geirmundr and his family were also going, but I haven't heard how they fared.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Melisande and I are the proud owners of a huge print of Heironymous Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights, a triptych painting from about 1500.

The A Commonplace Book blog noted recently the availability of small sculptures of figures from this painting.

Pretty cool. We might have to have something from this site to complement our print.


Popular Mechanics has an article up on how to set up your own forge. The idea never really interested me, but I saw this through the kind offices of Instapundit, a blogger on politics and various other topics who says he and his friends made Roman lorica segmentata in high school. Was Professor Reynolds a SCA member at some point, or just a kindred spirit?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Facsimile Surprise

I'm fond of illuminated manuscripts. I may possibly have mentioned that at some point on this blog. Back in college, I became aware of very, very expensive facsimiles available from a company in Europe... way beyond my price range. Since then, I've assembled a few facsimiles in slipcases or more conventional editions, and a larger number of books about illuminated manuscripts, their bindings, medieval painting techniques, etc.

But there are two kinds of facsimiles. One is the type where good quality reproductions of medieval manuscripts appear in conventional, if rather luxe, hardcover books. Normally there is an accompanying commentary, and perhaps they reproduce every page of the book, or perhaps they just reproduce the more interesting pages.

The other type is where they literally reproduce the entire book, its binding, every page. If someone penciled notes in, they appear faithfully. Such facsimiles are available from Faksimile Verlag Luzern, a Swiss company.

An aside. I'm not one of those people who fantasizes about being rich, and lies awake nights thinking about Maseratis and super models and flying first class. Just not the sort of thing that jazzes me. I like nice things, and if I were rich I'd buy a Jaguar and eat in nice restaurants all the time and jet over to Europe occasionally, but it really doesn't keep me awake at nights. But there is one thing that tempts me, and makes me doubt my career path, which usually keeps me quite happy: books. If I were rich, really loaded, I'd buy every one of these facsimiles, and keep them in a locked room and gloat over them. Maybe I'd let you see them. If you're nice to me, and wear gloves. That sort of thing. Sue me, I like books.

Well, I ran across the Faksimile Verlag people again late last year, looked at their website, and noted the absence of a price list. Not a good sign, but I'm a somewhat more prosperous academic than I was when I first encountered this concept as a callow youth, so I sent an email inquiring about the price of a volume that I knew was rather modest in size. Some weeks went by, and without any answer, I scouted around the Internet. Some other sites discussed the Faksimile company and gave price lists. The price for the volume I'd inquired about, the Prayers of Anne de Bretagne, was not out of the range I suspected, but it was at the high end of the range. More than I'd hoped. I would like to own one of these facsimiles some day, I thought, but it would have to wait a while. The price I saw was in the high three figures. That sum would fund some bookbinding classes, and plenty of materials, I thought. Owning one of these delightful volumes would have to be planned for carefully.

So yesterday, while working in the home office, I heard the doorbell ring. Shortly afterward, Melisande brought in a sizable package with German language on the label. I was mystified; had I forgotten about a used book or an eBay purchase? She sat down to watch, curious, and I began to open it, finding layers of elaborate packaging inside. Midway through, I remembered the Faksimile Verlag inquiry, and thought "Oh! A very elaborate catalog or brochure, apparently. What an amazing amount of expense to go to!"

You're laughing, gentle reader. No, it really didn't occur to me at first. It had never crossed my mind that asking after the price of the book would cause a company in Switzerland to ship an extremely expensive book to me with a polite invoice. When I got to a handsome presentation case in the center of all this packaging, however, I began to suspect that there was no way this was a catalog.

And it wasn't. It was the facsimile, very beautiful in red velvet, with a commentary volume hidden under a tray and sealed in plastic. There was an invoice: 1276 Swiss francs. At todays rates, about $1100.

Well, I can't keep it, of course. It won't do. I went and read the website much more carefully. Yes, they'll take it back. Yes, they are agreeable about installment plans. No, it isn't responsible for me to do that. I emailed them right away, and if I don't get a reply quickly, I'll call and start making arrangements for it to go back, carefully insured.

I obviously didn't read the inquiry form carefully enough, I realized. It really didn't occur to me at all that they would simply send the actual facsimile without any further communication. I mean, they don't know me from Adam - did they run a credit check, or did they just assume anyone inclined to inquire about the price was also well-heeled enough to buy the book without any further negotiation? I'm rather flattered, I guess.

The photos are borrowed from the Faksimile Verlag website, as I'm not handling the beautiful little object any more. A pity, but it must go back.

UPDATE: A very courteous response from Lucerne this morning - it was indeed a misunderstanding, and they will happily exchange it for the catalogue I was expecting.


This is the wonderful thing about antique stores. Sometimes, you just find the most amazing things.

Another Royal Holland Pewter flask, light wear, apparently newer, about half the size of the old one. And very inexpensive.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Medieval Flask

The very interesting blog A Commonplace Book recently pointed to this wonderful item at Billy and Charlies: a medieval flask. Can't tell you how long I've been waiting for a good reproduction of this item. I have a handsome modern flask from Royal Holland Pewter that is functionally the same, but I will have to order this soon.